Reporter demands of Snyder… “What did you know, and when did you know it?”

With an increasing number of people calling for the arrest of Rick Snyder for the role he may have played in hiding evidence of the fact that the people of Flint were being poisoned by their drinking water, the Governor when to Flint earlier today to meet with Mayor Karen Weaver and reiterate, “We’re (now) taking this (public health emergency) extremely seriously.”

Unfortunately for Snyder, his long overdue trip to Flint happened to coincide with the release of emails which seem to show that some within his administration were urging that the state take action on the Flint water situation long before Snyder acknowledged that there was a problem. And at least one member of the press asked him about it, demanding that he answer the question, “What did you know, and when did you know it?” Here’s the video of the exchange, followed by a clip from an NBC News report about the email that was just made public.

[If you want to just right to the confrontation, it’s at the 1m 36s mark.]

And here’s the clip from NBC:

Six months before Michigan’s governor declared a state of emergency over high lead levels in the water in Flint, his top aide wrote in an email that worried residents were “basically getting blown off by us.”

“I’m frustrated by the water issue in Flint,” Dennis Muchmore, then chief of staff to Gov. Rick Snyder, wrote in the email to a top health department staffer obtained by NBC News.

“I really don’t think people are getting the benefit of the doubt. Now they are concerned and rightfully so about the lead level studies they are receiving,” Muchmore said.

“These folks are scared and worried about the health impacts and they are basically getting blown off by us (as a state we’re just not sympathizing with their plight)”…

That email, for what it’s worth, was sent on July 22, just around the time that Brad Wurfel from the DEQ went on the record saying, “Anyone who is concerned about lead in the drinking water in Flint can relax,” and well before Govern Snyder conceded that there “may” be a problem on September 30. [Flint would not stop using untreated water from the Flint River until October 16.]

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  1. Eel
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Does anyone remember when there was serious talk of him running for President?

  2. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I think I have figured out next what Governor Ricky will do… Since he just signed a bill that prohibits public bodies from distributing information on ballot proposals, he will ask his Tea Party pals in the Michigan “legislature” to pass legislation prohibiting the Governor from giving any information out about Flint water. Of course it will be attached to an appropriations bill for a $1 bottle of water for a lucky Flint resident, making the Governors gag rule not eligible for a public referendum.

  3. General Demitrious
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Now we are getting somewhere. Forget tying the EM to this crisis. The Flint city council made the decision to switch water supplies, knowing full well that Detroit Water and Sewer could, and probably would raise their rates until the Karagnondi supply was ready, which in turn forced them to try using Flint river water.

    The use of Flint river water could have worked, but the DEQ failed to enforce appropriate standards and procedures.

    What Snyder did do is repeatedly ignore warnings and pleas for assistance, in the presence of credible evidence of a problem, and used his office to smother investigation.

  4. Lynne
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    While from a practical view and from the interest of getting things fixed as quickly as possible, I support the seeking of federal funds to fix this. However, ultimately, I think that 100% of the costs of fixing the Flint water problem should come from the State of Michigan and I think it should be funded by a special tax so that it is very clear to Michigan voters how expensive it was that they voted for Snyder and tea party crazy nutso Senators and Reps. All of the future costs estimated to cost us due to the effects of lead poisoning such as increased law enforcement should also be charged as directly as possible to the Michigan tax payers.

  5. Mr. X
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    The Snyder Poisoned the Kids Tax

  6. Also in the News
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    GM knowingly rejected ignition fix that would have cost 90 cents per unit, leading to at least 125 deaths

  7. Brainless
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Just to bum you all out:

    Does anybody here REALLY think that any harm whatsoever will come to Unleaded Dick as a result of this? And don’t throw out yet another opinion. Please exit this echo chamber and talk to someone from Brighton or Oakland County or Grand Rapids and see if a single Republicant soul gives a flying fuck about any of this. See if you can find anybody who thinks, “Hmmm, maybe Leadpublicans aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. I really fucked that up.”

    Unleaded Dick: He said he would be a leader. We just didn’t know he literally meant “lead”.

  8. Lynne
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Brainless, I think he would get re-elected which is one reason why I like the idea of a special tax. However, I also know that people vote for those guys *because* they don’t want to pay their fair share so when something like this happens, they want anyone else but them to foot the bill. And that is what Snyder and the rest of the GOP are going to do.

  9. Michael Bodary
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    A mass movement calling for Snyder’s arrest is underway, spearheaded by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, who is originally from Flint:

    “To poison all the children in an historic American city is no small feat. Even international terrorist organizations haven’t figured out yet how to do something on a magnitude like this.”

  10. Demetrius
    Posted January 9, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Michigan is still a beautiful state, with tons of forests, rich agricultural lands, and we sit in the middle of more fresh water than anywhere else in the world.

    That said – given how far our level of culture, education, journalism, infrastructure, and democracy have fallen in recent years, it is hard to imagine why anyone (who has a choice) would want to stay here in “Michissippi.”

    If I were a bright young person starting out in life, and didn’t already have roots and family obligations here, I would almost certainly try to go almost anywhere else as fast as possible.

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted January 9, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I’ve told my kids not to stay here after school unless things change dramatically. I felt the same about my hometown growing up. I always knew I would need to leave. I had hopes otherwise for my kids, but I want them to have choices and flexibility. Hand to mouth living doesn’t offer that. I love this state and this community and chose to be here, but I wouldn’t make the same choice today. If I didn’t own my home (a lucky break), I would have left. Housing has become unsustainably expensive while opportunity dwindles. It’s economically unviable for those not in the professional class, and for many entrepreneurs. I left California after 5 years to come back to Michigan for similar reasons. There was busy-ness and aspiration but work ethic centered on being a productive member of society was eroding. I didn’t want to raise my kids there. The one-two punch of Granholm (who was just lame) and then Snyder– for the last 16 years– has failed Michigan terribly. I almost forgot Engler. Oy. Any progress in this state has happened in spite of state leadership, because people loved it here and the schools were still good and the place was at least affordable, so they stuck it out and worked hard. The IT boom is helpful and medical services industry, plus the auto co re-invention– all thriving in spite of state gov’t., but how long will people want to be here when the state can’t even reliably provide essential services– roads, safe water, good schools, etc?

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] only are members of our local press demanding that Govern Snyder answer the question, “What did you know, and when?“, but the #ArrestGovSnyder hashtag is picking up traction nationally. [At last count, Michale […]

  2. […] He’s still not as open as I’d like, but, based on this National Journal interview with Rick Snyder that was just posted, it would appear that our Governor is beginning to accept the fact that this isn’t just going to go away, and that he needs to start actually answering questions. I still don’t like his answers, some of which you can see below, but I think this marks a step in the right direction. At least this time, when he’s asked what he knew about the poisoning of his constituents, he doesn’t just respond by saying “there’s going to be a report.” […]

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